People- sometimes taking Henry to church is just crazy. He is all over the place, he doesn't want to sit still, and I often find myself wandering the halls. He's been much easier to manage since Kyler has been released from the Bishopric and now sits with me, but sometimes he is still a handful!
I have been trying to find good projects and quiet activities for him to do while at church and was scouring Pinterest for about a thousand years. I kept feeling frustrated though because most of their ideas were for children a bit older than Henry, and he just wasn't quite old enough to enjoy those types of activities.
I asked around to other moms and found little bits and pieces from every source of things that worked for them, and now I've finally been able to compile a little bag of tricks to keep my son entertained at his pre-nursery age (16 months), and mamas, it works!
This past Sunday we had few issues and no need to take him out in the hall. He just sat and was so distracted with the various things I had for him that Kyler and I actually got to LISTEN to the speakers! Say what? Can I get a WOOHOO!?! Some of you may have already heard about these, but sheesh, they have really helped this mom out that I want to make sure you know about them!
So what is in this magic bag? Let me tell you.
1. Gospel Picture Book
I got this idea from my friend Sarah Jane. Her mother made Sarah Jane's daughter a cute little picture book with cut outs from church magazines (the Ensign, New Era and Friend.) Her's is made out of a small photo album and her mom just slid the pictures into each slot, which I thought was genius. All I had at home was a .5 inch white binder and some sheet protectors, so I went with that (because I'm impatient and really wanted to see how Henry would like it.) It's been a hit! He has a lot of fun pointing at all of the pictures and Kyler and I are able to teach him different things on each page. I hope to keep adding to it as I receive more magazines, right now I have 6 pages.
2. Pipe Cleaner Activity
This idea came from my sister. It's simply a cleaned out Parmesan cheese container with different colored pipe cleaners. You can do different sizes, and I've even heard of this same thing with straws. The idea is that they put the pipe cleaners through the little holes until they fit them all in. Henry LOVES this activity. He will do it over and over again. My sister said that a lot of the children in her church ward will come over and play with her son's because they are all amazed by it.
3. Cheap Calculator
I think this calculator reminds Henry of a phone, and since we rarely let him play with our phones, he gets down right giddy that we're actually handing him this item and letting him push all of the buttons. He loves carrying it around with him and since he loves it so much, we save it for the really restless moments and it works like a charm.
4. Sponge Blocks
I saw this idea online here and thought it was adorable. Quiet blocks in fun colors, what could be better? They can build and play and they don't make a sound. Even if they throw them (because lets be honest, this is the stage of throwing) they don't go far or cause chaos. Win!
I try to pack a lot of different snacks, and things that he often doesn't get during the week so it's a special treat. We typically rotate through grapes, apple slices, teddy grahams, pretzel sticks, a type of cereal, puffs, raisins, fruit pouches, milk in a sippy cup, or his water. (these are just options of what we've used, we don't have all of these things every Sunday.) I saw a cute idea for a cheerio necklace to keep little ones occupied, so I whipped this up really quickly and it completely baffled Henry. He was so excited about it that it kept him busy for quite awhile.
Of course we have a few books and simple toys, but often we don't even have to use these items because of the other quiet activities we have now.
As Henry gets older I'm so excited to use an adorable quiet felt book (made by my sister in law Joanne) and a cute felt/white erase board (made by my sister Laiken) that they gifted us for Christmas. Henry doesn't quite grasp their concepts yet (as in he'd rather eat the dry erase crayon and felt pieces. :) ) There are a few more options of activities to make for kiddos when they are older, but for now I'm glad I found these ideas to help with my busy boy for the stage he's in currently. :)
Now, I feel triumphant and at ease at church instead of stressed out and broken down. I hope these ideas can help you too!